World War One was a watershed in American history. The United States' decision to join the battle in 1917 "to make the world safe for democracy" proved pivotal in securing allied victory — a victory that would usher in the American Century.
In the war's aftermath, individuals, towns, cities, counties, and states all felt compelled to mark the war, as did colleges, businesses, clubs, associations, veterans groups, and houses of worship. Thousands of memorials—from simple honor rolls, to Doughboy sculptures, to grandiose architectural ensembles—were erected throughout the US in the 1920s and 1930s, blanketing the American landscape.
Each of these memorials, regardless of size or expense, has a story. But sadly, as we enter the war's centennial period, these memorials and their very purpose—to honor in perpetuity the more than four million Americans who served in the war and the more than 116,000 who were killed—have largely been forgotten. And while many memorials are carefully tended, others have fallen into disrepair through neglect, vandalism, or theft. Some have been destroyed. Watch this CBS news video on the plight of these monuments.
The extant memorials are our most salient material links in the US to the war. They afford a vital window onto the conflict, its participants, and those determined to remember them. Rediscovering the memorials and the stories they tell will contribute to their physical and cultural rehabilitation—a fitting commemoration of the war and the sacrifices it entailed.
We are building a US WW1 Memorial register through a program called the Memorials Hunters Club. If you locate a memorial that is not on the map we invite you to upload your treasure to be permanently archived in the national register. You can include your choice of your real name, nickname or team name as the explorers who added that memorial to the register. We even have room for a selfie! Check the map, and if you don't see the your memorial CLICK THE LINK TO ADD IT.
The Legion War Memorial Building was a monumental structure with a monumental mission when it was completed and dedicated: to stand as a memorial to war veterans -- both alive and fallen -- from Culver's ranks. Famous for its Gold Star at the entrance and its classical, exquisite architecture, the memorial building, of course, still stands today. The site features an imposing three-floor memorial building with a Gold Star room, Gold Stars on exterior, and a plaque in honor of those Culver academy students (unnamed) killed in the war from the Federation Interalliee des Anciens Combattants at the base of the staircase (presented and dated October 23, 1922).
November 02, 1924
December 07, 1922
Three Memorial Elms were planted for the three Culver Military Academy cadets who died in the First World War. These were planted in a ceremony attended by General Pershing.
This memorial is located at 301 Veterans Memorial Boulevard, one block from City Square. Dedicated in May, 1992, by the City of Cumming, the memorial consists of individual pedestals to the different conflicts. Each pedestal is topped with bronze replicas of appropriate historical artifacts of that war.
Memorial Stadium, 100 W Dallas Ave
Erected by American Legion Post 20 and V.F.W. Post 3016.
Old Live Oak Cemetery, 110 W Dallas Ave
Erected by the Selma Memorial Association.
New Live Oak Cemetery
November 11, 1929
Erected by American Legion Selma Post No. 20. The bricks were added at a later date to memorialize the African Americans from Dallas County who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Highway 9 North. 186 Recreation Road.
November 11, 2005
Photos courtesy of Lamar Veatch
Park with large memorial wall inscribed with names from the Civil War to recent confilcts. The WW1 section contains forty-four names. Inscriptions on adjacent plaque: “If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. – President John F. Kennedy” “Welcome To All Veterans Who Have Protected Our Nation Through Military Service in Time of War. Dedicated November 11, 2005”
305 Grande Ave SW
Displays one of E. M. Viquesney's "Spirit of the American Doughboy" sculptures.
5401 Courthouse Circle
October 14, 1984
Photos courtesy of Lamar Veatch
Granite monument listing war dead from Eastman County for the major conflicts. Inscription: “Dedicated to All Those Who Served and In Memory of Those Who Paid the Supreme Sacrifice So We Might Live Free of Oppression and Tyranny.”
Granite monument dedicated to recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross and memorial fountain, located in Long Wharf Park
Memorial Park, Edgewater Road & Palisade Avenue
This monument commemorates the soldiers from Cliffside Park, NJ who served in World War I. It was dedicated on Decoration Day 1929.
The bronze sculpture depicts a WWI soldier leaning on his left foot. He is wearing his uniform, ragged on both arms, a helmet and carrying a rifle on his left shoulder. His left hand is holding the rife strap, his right hand is hooked to the ammunition belt hanging around his hips. Both of his legs are wrapped in bandages. He is wearing a gas mask on his chest & a canteen on his right hip.
On February 12, 1950, the monument was rededicated and a new plaque was added to include the names of the soldiers who gave their lives in WWII. The new plaque, made of polished labradorite, covers the original inscription on the stone base.
Narrative adapted from Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS) inventory #NJ000379.
This World War I monument consists of an approx. 5' tall sculpture placed upon a square base about five' high. A plaque with raised lettering on the front of the base indicates this was erected to honor the men of Eatontown who served in the war.
Narrative adapted from Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS) inventory #NJ000434.
Photos courtesy of: NJ State Historic Preservation Office
The Haddon Township Doughboy is one of the iconic figures not designed by Visquesney. It was, instead, designed by sculptor Richard Walter Bock who had been born in Germany in 1865. In 1870, his family emigrated to Chicago where his father opened a cabinet making business. Bock began his art education in the United States but returned to his native country and France to complete his training.
Photos courtesy of: Haddon Township Historical Society
This monument depicts a World War I soldier in uniform standing at parade rest. Both hands grasp the barrel of his rifle, the butt of which rests on the ground.
The monument was sponsored by Amos Wheatley and dedicated to the veterans of World War I. It was rededicated in 1989 as part of a refurbishing project at Veterans' Memorial Park. The figure was knocked slightly off its original position by a collision with a tractor trailer truck.
Narrative adapted from Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS) inventory NJ000048.
Photos courtesy of: Sheena Chi
This World War I monument consists of a life-size statue of a doughboy standing at attention in full uniform with the barrel of a rifle in his right hand and the butt of the rifle on the ground. The figure is set upon a granite plinth, square in cross-section, with an angled top, resting on a rusticated granite slab.
A bronze plaque mounted on the front of the plinth contains the names of local soldiers from Belford, Port Monmouth & New Monmouth, NJ who served in the war. The monument sits on a low mound to heighten its prominence.
Photo courtesy of: NJ State Historic Preservation Office
This monument consists of a bronze WWI soldier in uniform holding a rifle in his left hand & a grenade in his right hand. He wears a helmet, shirt, belt with packs, pants & boots.
It appears this statue was recently moved from its original granite base to the current polished black stone, 3-tiered base.
The original bronze honor roll plaque has been restored and mounted on a separate, nearby stone pillar.
Photos courtesy of: NJ State Historic Preservation Office
In 1919, township resident and Civil War veteran John Yard donated the land for the 17-foot war memorial. The statue itself is fabricated from concrete, one of four doughboys in the state that uses this material. He stands atop a 10-foot tall, square pedestal inscribed with the names of 15 men from the then Washington Township who served in World War I. (Later, the back side of the monument was inscribed to honor those who served in World War II.) The statue was unveiled on October 16, 1920. More than 1,000 people attended the event.
Narrative adapted from Cathy Zahn, "Nearly a Century Old, but Doughboy's Message of Patriotism is Timeless," Robbinsville Sun website.
Photo Credit: Sheena Chi
This version of a doughboy was sculpted by Italian-American sculptor Gaetano Federici who emigrated to the United States and settled in Paterson.
The memorial consists of a statue of a World War I soldier mounted on a rectangular base. The base is flanked by four steles commemorating other wars. The soldier is painted bronze and stands with a rifle, butt end down in his left hand. At his side, he holds a grenade in his clenched right fist. The sculpture is mounted on a square base with a commemorative plaque on the front. It was originally dedicated on Memorial Day 1926 on the grounds of the community house in Midvale.
Narrative adapted from Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS) inventory #NJ000307.
Photo courtesy of: Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS)
Bullhead Veteran's Memorial Park, near intersection of Bullhead Rd and Sitting Bull Ave
Description and photo from The E.M. Viquesney Doughboy Database
This monument is one of just two Viquesney Doughboys which specifically recognize the service of Native Americans in World War I. Muskogee, Oklahoma's recognizes "The Five Civilized Tribes" of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. For preservation purposes, the Doughboy has been heavily painted. The predominant color is green, but the face and hands are white, puttees (leggings) and shoes black, and the rifle and field pack brown. It appears to be in good condition, but the bayonet is missing.The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation is located just west of the Missouri River in both North and South Dakota. The larger portion is in South Dakota, but tribal offices are at Fort Yates, North Dakota, about 10 miles north of the line between the states. Bullhead is about 15 miles south of the line.
The inscription on the plaque on the front of the base reads:
The inscription on a plaque on the rear of the base reads:
The plaque was also made by E. M. Viquesney. Many of the names listed are tribal, rather than “Anglicized”.
Although the presentation date on the plaque reads June 29, 1935, the unveiling ceremony was held four days later on July 3. A photograph and description of the unveiling ceremony can be seen at Digital Horizons. Background details in that old photo suggest that the statue and flagpole might have been later moved a short distance to the present location.
This memorial plaque and statue are dedicated to those from Lonaconing who died in service during World War 1.
This Doughboy was originally dedicated to the Yamhill County soldiers of the World War in 1923, but its base now also contains plaques memorializing servicemembers in later wars. It is located in a small park adjacent to the Yamhill County Courthouse.